Dong quai is an herb that is found in China, Japan, and Korea. The root of this plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions. This herb should be used with caution due to the many documented dong quai side effects, including hypersensitivity to sunlight, bleeding, miscarriage, and dangerous drug interactions.
One of the most troublesome dong quai side effects is the possibility that it contributes to breast cancer. Researchers have proven that this herb can stimulate the development of breast cancer cells in women who have a history of this type of cancer. Women with ovarian cancer and uterine cancer also should avoid dong quai. Medical studies are inconclusive on how this herb affects the development of these types of cancers.
Another one of the many dong quai side effects is an increase in photosensitivity. If an individual is taking dong quai it is important that she apply a good sunscreen before going outdoors. The use of this herb can increase the risk of sun damage. It can also cause rashes on the skin if too much time is spent in the sun without a good sunscreen.
Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not take this herb. Dong quai thins the blood, and it can cause miscarriage and excessive bleeding. An individual who is currently taking a blood-thinning medication should never take dong quai. If the blood becomes too thin, the risk of internal bleeding becomes very high. This can lead to bleeding into the brain, which can be fatal in some cases.
Men can also suffer from dong quai side effects. Studies have shown that some men who have taken this herb have developed gynecomastia. This is a condition in which the breasts become enlarged. Researchers are not sure why dong quai causes enlarged breasts in men, but when the herb is discontinued the breasts will usually return to normal size.
There are many dong quai side effects that come from drug interactions. Any individual who is thinking about taking dong quai must discuss this with his doctor first. People who take medications that affect the heart rate or heart rhythm need to be aware that this herb can increase the effectiveness of these drugs. Dong quai has also been known to interact with certain antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.